Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Spoon Full of Sugar

Perhaps the best macaron ever!
One of the many things I love about food is the power it has to make me feel better after a bad day. And one of the many things I love about Europe is the abundance of delicious options there are to lift my mood!
Since we've all just headed back to work after a break for the holidays, it is rough to wake up to an alarm clock and head out of the house into cold weather. I love what I do, but I hate cold weather and I am not a morning person! 

Since in Italy there is a word for everything, Italians actually have a brilliant word for the emotional and physical shock of returning to work after a vacation: the crisi di rientro, or re-entry crisis.


I have a double rientro shock, since not only is it time to get to work, but my stay-cation at Lola's house (which was sweeeeeeet, by the way!) has ended. So, back to my small, cold apartment and goodbye to the cuddles of little Lola the zen Shih tzu. 


There is one sweet little twist that's helping take the bite off reality: I have a box full of Laduree macaron and a tin of Fauchon chocolates, straight in from Paris. Thanks Alison, Dave, Walker and Penn! You read my mind!


Milk chocolate praline hearts.


Next trip to Paris will include pilgrimage to Laduree!

And tomorrow when I get up for a Monday alarm clock, I'll be having a macaron with a nice cup of coffee. How's that for sweet?


All this brought to mind a blog entry I wrote for geobeats.com years back. I would like to share it, since it gives great insight on Italian life, and how (in my opinion) Italians have it all figured out (except plumbing, heating and taxes!).


By Toni Mazzaglia from Florence, on September 21st, 2007

Most of Europe goes on vacation in August. Italy is no exception. Since they all go away at the same time and return at the same time, the entire country suffers together around the beginning of September.
 Italians actually have a word for the awful experience of returning to work after a long vacation or holiday: IL RIENTRO.
 
 It’s a good thing they have a word for this problem, because I am suffering big-time from a rough rientro.
 After a five week stay in efficient, customer service driven America, I returned to Florence.
 Upon arrival, my phone had been cut off (and so too, my internet), my car was no longer running, and my credit card had been blocked by my bank, once again, because I made a purchase the morning I arrived in Italy.
 How does one get anything done without phone or internet? How do they get to work without a car? How do they call and get their credit card unblocked, making the necessary intercontinental call to their bank to let them know, as in many calls before, that THEY PRACTICALLY LIVE IN ITALY, so please turn the card back on or they can’t pay for their phone bill, fix their car, etc.?
 Vicious cycle. 
On the bright side, on the day of my arrival, I went to pick up my comforter from the cleaner. Fortunately, I had already paid for it before my departure five weeks earlier. While waiting in line (actually, in Italy one generally waits in clusters and hopes no one goes before their turn) I struck up a conversation with another woman. One thing led to another and I mentioned my awful rientro symptoms: frustration, depression, confusion, loss of verbal skills- coupled with their causes: lack of money, failure to telecommunicate. 

 On the bright side, I did mention, I was back to the land of good food, wine and coffee. So, as usual, the topic turned to food. I always talk about food. Italians always talk about food.
 Within seconds, everyone, including the owners, was talking about food and their favorite recipes and what they had eaten for lunch… And a lovely woman with red hair mentioned she had made too much apricot marmalade, so much she didn’t know where to put it all.

When I heard the word apricot, my rientro concerns doubled. Not only had I come back to an entire mess, I had missed all the good stuff the summer brings. Peaches and apricots and many, many sagras.
 As I sighed, the woman read my mind and offered me some of her apricot marmalade. “Come back tomorrow and you’ll find a jar here waiting.”
 The next day I returned to the cleaner and their it was, an enormous jar of homemade apricot marmalade, sitting next to the cash register.
I love this country.
 (end of Geobeats blog entry from 2007) 
I just found a pamphlet inside the macaron box, with history and instructions. I only have 3 days to eat all 18! This is going to be intense! It is good to have something constructive to take my mind off the rientro...

What food makes you feel better after a bad day? 







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